At the Board of Child Care, we have always been committed to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI).
People with diverse lived experiences and backgrounds consistently come together with unique voices to help push our mission work forward and uphold the belief that we can and will enrich communities, one family at a time.
Still, we never had an established plan to ensure we grow in our EDI efforts.
So last year, our dedicated EDI Committee developed BCC’s “Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan 2022-2025” – a three-year plan that includes multiple approaches to elevate the overall culture of BCC. We have identified the following goals:
Enhance engagement and intercultural development
Sustain assessment, accountability and commitments
Expand pathways for access and employee success
Over the next few months, we will dig into these goals on The BCC Compass, sharing our objectives for each and steps we are taking to achieve success.
We will also continue to offer the open forums we launched last year. These forums help BCC leaders understand barriers and identify strategies to increase the overall sense of belonging.
Each of us has a role to play in this important effort. My hope is that in three years, the benefits of diversity and inclusion will become undeniable and will be embedded in the way we create policy, interact with our community and maintain professional environments.
Together, our team can magnify our impact, foster a healthy culture where we engage in joy and purpose and remove barriers while building momentum.
Meet Our Newest Member of the Executive Leadership Team
Board of Child Care is thrilled to announce Kelly Berger as our new Executive Director for Caminos Programs. As a member of BCC’s Executive Leadership Team, Kelly will oversee the Caminos Programs in Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, as well as Caminos Nacional and the Home Study / Post Release Services Program. As she transitions into this role, Kelly’s focus will be on developing and strengthening the newest Caminos service lines while also supporting the existing integration of Caminos residential and community-based services within the BCC continuum of care.
Working with youth and families for over 20 years, Kelly is excited to continue her journey by providing leadership to the Caminos program. Believing that all young people deserve to feel safe and supported, families should be together, and everyone deserves the opportunity to live their life to its fullest potential, Kelly is proud of BCC’s commitment to supporting the growth and impact of the Caminos program since its inception in 2014.
Kelly holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from Florida International University and dual Bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Psychology from Assumption College. She is certified through the University of Maryland to provide trauma treatment for children and youth and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker – Clinical in Maryland. Kelly’s experience extends into macro areas of social work and includes the dissemination of implementation strategy, innovative program design and development, and social sector advocacy.
Outside of work, Kelly enjoys living in Baltimore City with her partner and their dog. She balances city life with a love of travel and frequent excursions to the woods, where she can likely be found wandering along a trail or climbing a mountain.
The Board of Child Care has the pride and privilege of being the workplace of choice for so many people representing countless cultures and nations. During this time of year, our community’s focus shifts to reflect on the year and prepare for the new year ahead. As an organization that is striving to be progressive and aware of our diversity, we take the time to honor and learn the different ways our community chooses to celebrate this time. Check out a few tips on acknowledging differences during this holiday season:
Host a Diversity Potluck where team members can bring foods that represent who they are. The act of eating together is communal for so many people and will allow for genuine engagement to take place.
Share photos from the holiday to give your teams a preview of your life outside of work. While doing mission-driven work it becomes easy to lock in and only focus on work. However, we are people with lives and stories it’s important to share and create community.
Host professional development opportunities that allow for people to learn the history behind holiday practices. Call on your team members to lead these conversations to add personal stories and experiences.
Maintaining inclusive workplaces allows for you to be creative on how to build community. During this holiday season take the time to lean in and embrace the diversity that exists within your teams.
On behalf of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee, I wish everyone a safe and healthy holiday season.
May God bless you with anger
At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people.
So that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace
May God bless you with tears,
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war.
So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain to joy.
And may God bless you with enough foolishness
To believe that you can make a difference in the world.
So that you can do what others claim cannot be done to bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.
– A Franciscan Blessing
On Friday, November 19th, 2021, a “not guilty on all counts” verdict related to Kyle Rittenhouse was announced to the world. This verdict reopened wounds for many and reminded us that justice seems out of reach and many times not just for people of color. It is clear, we still have a long way to go in achieving a racially just and equitable society. This verdict, while extremely disappointing, is not an anomaly. In addition, there are a variety of opinions and feelings about the verdict.
Board of Child Care stands with and by our colleagues of color. You have our support, our voice, our empathy, and our action. We will use our power, platform, and privilege to lead meaningful, strategic, and systemic change at BCC. We will change what we can and know that making a place where everyone in our BCC experiences a healthy culture where each of us can engage with joy and purpose is one of our most important challenges. We will use our empathy skills to seek first to understand and work hard to find common ground in our rich diversity at BCC.
Coping as a Community
Speak up when you experience or witness intolerance, mistreatment, or bias in action. No matter what the issue, say something. If you don’t know what to say, start by asking, “What did you mean by that?” Listen, then respond calmly based on facts. Saying nothing when such instances arise condones the discrimination or microaggression. Here’s a powerful and short clip on microaggressions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDd3bzA7450.
Create an inclusive environment for everyone. Seek different perspectives and respect points of view and communication styles that are different from your own. Don’t know how to talk about race? The National Museum on African American History and Culture offers a great resource – check it out here: https://nmaahc.si.edu/learn/talking-about-race.
Process your feelings. Disappointments like this can feel traumatizing, especially for members of marginalized groups. Talking to your supervisor, in teams, with friends and loved ones can help. BCC also makes mental health resources available for times when you may need more support through an Employee Assistance Program.
Flex Our Core Value of EMPATHY. Seek first to understand, as there may be differences of opinion. Try to stand in your colleagues’ shoes to understand what support they might need to feel community and belonging at BCC.
We can only heal and grow better together by listening and learning, by having courageous conversations, and by cultivating a trusting environment where all people feel safe, respected, and empowered to voice their ideas, thoughts, and concerns. When we behave this way, we can set an example for our communities in the Mid-Atlantic. We need to do better—and we can.
Some reflections from BCC’s Chief Operating Officer
We just finished a three-day virtual site visit with CARF international and EAGLE, BCC’s two national accreditation bodies. Seven reviewers (4 from CARF, 3 from EAGLE) from across the United States and Canada spent time making sure BCC was meeting the mark across 1,700 + different standards. These ranged from governance and leadership, to finance, to program operations, to client rights.
This was a re-accreditation visit for BCC. We get recertified every three years by CARF, and every four years by EAGLE. Due to the pandemic, we were not able to do our visit last year, so we worked with both CARF and EAGLE to complete this accreditation jointly between the two teams. We would usually welcome our reviewers onto campus for several days, but had to adapt to a virtual-only visit this go round. Lots of time spent on MS Teams!
So how did we do? Both EAGLE and CARF teams had their exit debriefs yesterday. These are unofficial, verbal downloads of what the reviewers will be putting in their reports. In both cases, we will not get the official report until CARF and EAGLE have both reviewed the site visit notes. BCC holds these accreditations to learn how we can improve and do better. There were some areas they recommended we adjust to better meet certain standards, but overall I am extremely pleased with how we did. We received compliments on the content and quality of our client and HR charts and even got some kudos on some things that BCC is doing that they are not seeing other organizations do in our space (especially in the areas of advocacy, state-level partnership to serve new populations, our alumni grant program, and the Caminos program).
At the end of the review, I’m proud to see we received perfect marks in the following categories!
Financial Planning and Management
What happens next?
In both cases, the reviewers make a recommendation up to CARF/EAGLE, who will then officially deliver our accreditation result.
Once we get our official results, we’ll submit a Quality Improvement Plan (or Corrective Action Plan) to address any areas noted that we need to adjust in order to meet the standard.
I’m incredibly proud of our teams for the amazing work they do every day – and especially for how they came together this week to really showcase how BCC shines! Great job everyone!
Kristian Sekse is BCC’s Chief Operating Officer. One of his areas of responsibility is Quality Improvement (also called Quality Assurance), which is the team responsible for maintaining BCC’s audit, compliance, survey, reporting, and risk management programs. This team oversees BCC’s accreditations and certifications.
Board of Child Care is thrilled to welcome Terrell Boston-Smith as our new Chief Financial Officer. As a member of BCC’s Executive Leadership Team, Terrell will manage the finance, food service, and facility teams. His current focus is gathering deeper business insight through advanced reports as well as bringing more automation to the finance team.
Terrell is a Baltimore native, deeply committed executive, and civic volunteer. In his spare time, Terrell loves to be in nature, travel, and serve as a volunteer Board member outside of BCC. He currently lives in Baltimore City’s Mt. Vernon neighborhood with his family and dog, Missy. Welcome, Terrell!
Expanding Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion competency through Professional Development.
Professional Development opportunities, in concept, appears to be super easy to organize. “I get to grow as a professional, for free, with my co-workers” who wouldn’t want that? However, when it comes to creating and maintaining workplace environments that are knowledgeable and forward thinking, the intentionality behind creating professional learning opportunities becomes even more important. At the Board of Child, we believe that educating our communities on core Diversity and Inclusion Competencies is the foundation to promote inclusion on all levels of an organization. To take on this huge responsibility it was important for us to identify partners and teachers in an industry that is so broad and dynamic.
As an EDI facilitator my first job is to be aware that I am the “knower of nothing”. Regardless of how much formal education I have completed, books that I read, and trainings that I have led, there is no way that I can ever be an absolute expert on all things Diversity and Inclusion. What I do know is that my passion, my lived experiences, and of course my professional training provide me with a foundation to bring people together to learn about and move in a justice mindset. I pride myself most on being able to identify other professionals to partner with to ensure that the policies, initiatives, and learning opportunities that our agency creates is effective and truthful.
This year our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee worked hard to identify outside partners that could assist in our learning journey. To ensure that our goal of educating our employee population was attainable, the committee decided to host 4 professional learning opportunities on a quarterly basis focusing on the following topic areas: Anti-Black Racism, LGBTQ+ & Affirming Care, Cultural Humility, and Equitable Workplaces. To ensure that the content being delivered was interesting and relevant, we chose to partner with Diversity Trainers from diverse professional backgrounds with experience and passion for the subject matter. Collaboration is essential for any human service organization, especially for matters of Diversity and Inclusion. This journey can’t be done alone and its important to reach out and build community with professionals who can push your organization in the direction of inclusivity.
Tapping into social media networks like LinkedIn, Instagram and Clubhouse are both casual and professional ways of searching for Diversity speakers. Google is another great tool to use to identify other organizations that are doing great work in the community. Attend networking events where you have an opportunity to share the EDI journey that your organization is on an solicit the advice from others. As you can see, creating professional development opportunities, especially about Diversity and Inclusion is no easy task. It takes time to research and find the right person to partner with and speak to diverse audiences on matters that cause for vulnerability and unlearning, and that’s okay. In the end you are creating partnerships with longevity and professional development opportunities that will be impactful.